A KC-30A has departed RAAF Base Amberley bound for the United Arab Emirates as the Australian government seeks to evacuate Australian citizens and visa holders from Afghanistan.
Over 250 Defence personnel will aid in the evacuation effort, which is being co-ordinated with international partners.
Australia is now in the process of negotiating a landing spot at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan’s capital, to rescue the estimated 200 Australian citizens now trapped in the Taliban-controlled country.
Two C-17A Globemasters will also deploy to the Middle East later this week to assist efforts.
In a statement, Defence said, “The situation in Afghanistan remains highly volatile and dangerous.
“Defence is taking all necessary precautions to protect its people and those authorised for evacuation. The mission will be constantly assessed against the latest developments.”
Many videos have been released of the current chaos at Kabul airport, as thousands of Afghans attempted to flee the country.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton said while preparations are being made for a rescue mission, order must be restored at the airport before Australia can safely enter.
“These are terrible scenes. There needs to be order restored to the airport so that there can be safe passage of planes in and out and so that we have the ability to move people whether they’re Australian citizens or American citizens, Canadians, New Zealanders, in and out of that airport,” Minister Dutton said, speaking on the Today Show on Tuesday.
“We’d need to see order restored.”
Minister Dutton said that plans will be coordinated from Australia’s Middle East operating base in the UAE.
The Defence Minister defended US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw armed forces from the country.
“It was always going to be a difficult departure. Nobody wants to see the tragedy of these scenes but the reality is in this part of the world there have been horrific scenes for centuries,” Minister Dutton said.
He said the US and its allies would continue to monitor the country over the coming months.
“The Americans have the capability to strike both with manned and unmanned aircraft now. They have over-the-horizon capability in terms of their counter-terrorism efforts,” Minister Dutton said.
“If they see a problem festering, then I have no doubt that they will act and they’ll act in their interests and they’ll act in the interests of their allies.”